Lady Gaga: The Pornification of Popular Music

And How Kindie Music Creates New Opportunities.

Is Lady Gaga poisoning children’s minds? Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney seems to think so. In researching claims made by music producer Mike Stock that that pop culture is 'sexualizing' youngsters; Mooney sat down to watch some of the Miss Gaga's videos on YouTube and was appalled at the undertones of violence and sexual acts that she found. She argues that commercial pressure has pushed Gaga into a world of spectacle unlike any other, because in order to stay viable and keep selling her music; Gaga must continue ‘upping the ante’ or risk falling out of the spotlight. To which Mooney makes the interesting point that:

image from www.allgoodseats.comToday, a minute black leather thong, buttock tattoo, fishnets and leather jacket wouldn’t turn a hair. Cher and Madonna were the ‘mothers’ of this pop-porn chic. But how sad that nowadays if you’re a pop star  you feel you have to ape the clothes and gestures of the down-market glamour model—the cheaper the better. Female singers seem to think that the only way to sell their albums is to flash their gussets, while looking mean, vacant and up for it.”

In a follow-up piece, another Daily Mail writer concurred with Stock’s claims and Mooney’s findings, saying that after seeing Rihanna on stage a few nights later; she too became alarmed at the degree to which the singer was willing to push the envelope and blatantly assimilate sexually suggestive moves on stage. These assertions about the pornification of popular culture remind me of the arguments that journalist and author Chris Hedges made in his fantastic book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. In it, Hedges wrote a chapter on how rapidly porn has evolved within the public and commerical sphere:

image from has evolved from the airbrushed misogyny of glossy spreads in Playboy and the smutty films sold in seedy shops. It is corporate and easily available… Porn has evolved to its logical conclusion. It turned women into sexual commodities and then killed women as human beings. And it has won the culture war. Pornography and the commercial mainstream have fused.”

Earlier, Mooney writes that, “what was once rebellious is now mainstream and inescapable; what was once suggestive is now graphically explicit—and, most worryingly of all, it’s being aimed at a fan base that is getting younger and younger.” Curiously, regular readers of Hypebot know that parents don’t need to get out their pitch forks, light any fires, or burn any pop idols at the stake just yet—even if they want too. Amidst all of this talk about how the record industry is inadvertently marketing sex to kids, there's another cultural counterforce gaining momentum called kindie music, billed as "children's tunes by independent artists with the indie sensibility." As a result, in contrary to the contentions made above, it has been argued that the golden age of kids’ music is upon us. Therefore, parents have more options and there's a huge opportunty for artists who'd like to buck the trend and drown out the pornification of popular music with great tunes.

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